Catechism Question 4

April 8, 2014 at 11:47 am | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 5 Comments
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Question 3: Why did God make everything?
Answer: For His Own glory.
Prove it.

Romans 11:36

Question 4: How was everything when God created it?
Answer: It was very good.
Prove it.

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 1:31

This question is likely to cause a child to inquire, “Why do bad things happen now?” or “If God made it good, why isn’t it still good?” These are excellent lead-ins to the next question, but this will also be a great opportunity to explain that Jesus has promised to one day make everything new again – to make it the way it was before sin entered the world.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matthew 19:28

Other verses to consider:

[He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.

Deuteronomy 32:4

[As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Psalm 18:30

The LORD [is] righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

Psalm 145:17

Show and Tell

February 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Biblical Parenting, Common Expressions | 5 Comments
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Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Deuteronomy 32:7 (emphasis added)

You probably remember from your kindergarten or elementary school years the day when your teacher would have you bring your baseball glove or your bottle cap collection or your talking dolly to class with you, so you could stand up in front of the other students and give a little oral report about this special item. We called it “Show (KJV: Shew) and Tell Day.”

In Deuteronomy 32 we have the song of Moses, and it’s like he’s telling God’s people that there are some things that your parents will show you, but there are other things that your grandparents will have to tell you about.

Moses admonished the people after they had been lead from captivity, and he warned them not to turn away from God. Likewise, we need to remind ourselves of both the great things God has done for us in the recent past, and the things He has done in for us in the “old days.” We have a responsibility to teach our children and our grandchildren about the Lord and His ways. I’m not necessarily opposed to children’s lessons in church, nor am I against finding a good Christian book on child-rearing. But, no matter how hard I try, I’m really going to have to depend on the same Person I’ve depended on throughout my whole career as a parent so far – the Holy Spirit. If I am willing to take my Bible and diligently attempt to instruct my children from it, He has promised to help me.

Bold Mouths, Beautiful Feet, and Blindfolded Eyes

April 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Biblical Eyesight, Romans | 16 Comments
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For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:10-11

We do not earn salvation merely by what we say. In fact, we do not earn salvation at all. It is a gift from God. But our mouths are what we are to use to confess the salvation we have received. Have you ever made a public profession of your faith?

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13

In Joel 2:32 the prophet Joel had prophesied about the time when “whosoever” called on God as Lord would be saved. If you have been in church long enough, you have probably heard a preacher at one time or another exhort people who have not been saved to answer this question for themselves: “Are you a ‘whosoever?'”

The Holy Spirit in Romans 10 went on to use the Scriptures of the prophet Isaiah to explain how God views those who carry the Gospel to all the “whosoevers:”

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Romans 10:15

Beautiful feet are feet that bring the news of salvation. They are feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, but peace between whom? Peace between God and sinners. “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Sinners need to be reconciled to God because, before we were saved, we were at war with God.

In the Apostle Paul’s time this should not have been a new idea to the Israelites. The Holy Spirit cites Deuteronomy 32:21:

But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Romans 10:19

That “foolish nation” was the gentiles. One of the reasons God sent the message of salvation to the gentiles was because the Jews had rejected it, but another reason was so that gentile Christians could provoke them to jealousy.

Romans Chapter 10 ends with a quote from Isaiah 65:

I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

Isaiah 65: 1-2

Romans Chapter 11 shows that, although the Jews are a gainsaying people, God’s patience has not run out with them. He has a future for them. His hand may have been turned against them, but His heart is not turned against them. God to the nation of Israel: I’m not finished with you yet. God could have called gentiles to be apostles, but he chose Jews. The manner in which the Apostle Paul was saved is a picture of the way that Israel will be converted to a Christian nation and a Christian people:

1. Paul saw Jesus.
2. He repented.
3. He received Him.

Romans 11 is a message to the Jewish believers that they are not alone. They may have been thinking like the prophet Elijah – he thought he was the last faithful man.

God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

Romans 11:2-4

The Bible word for those Jews who are set aside for God – who are still faithful and who still know the truth, even when the vast majority does not – is the “remnant.” The remnant is a special group, but it is still made up of people who are saved the same way anybody is saved: by grace through faith.

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

Romans 11:5-7

“Blinded” in Romans 11:7 is not referring to someone who will never see again. It is the term that we think of as “blindfolded” (temporarily blinded). Historically, the Jews had received great spiritual blessings, but they had often loved the blessings and forgotten the Blesser. Generally, we don’t like to work, but there is pleasure in the fruits of labor. The problem is focusing on the pleasure and thinking we are the producers of that pleasure, instead of remembering where our blessings really come from.

The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2)

January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical friendship, Biblical Violence | 11 Comments
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From Part 1:

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face

One of those facts was realizing he was a soldier, so we began to look at three facts about soldiers.

A. Soldiers are supposed to live a simplistic life.

B. Soldiers are supposed to live a submissive life.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:4, emphasis added

Soldiers have to submit. They have to obey those over them. The very nature of authority in a battle requires both leadership and submission. An army where the soldiers do not submit to their leaders will fall into chaos and defeat.

C. Soldiers are supposed to live a selfless life.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

II Timothy 2:3-4, emphasis added

Soldiers in a war are not worried about the same things as the civilians back home. Soldiers are concerned with staying alive, keeping each other alive, and winning a battle. But they are not usually in the battle because they have been personally insulted by their enemy. They are fighting for the cause of their country. Most Christians are quick to take up a personal offense, but we need to remember that we are not fighting for our own cause. We are fighting our Commander’s cause. We are fighting for His Kingdom and His glory.

Jonathan had:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

I Samuel 14:6-7

Jonathan’s armor-bearer carried the weapons. If Jonathan needed the sword, the armor-bearer held the spear. If Jonathan needed the spear, the armor-bearer held the sword. Friends are important in the battle of the Christian life. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

If you start something for the Lord, He will often call someone to get into it with you. Have you prayed for God to bless you, so others could see God’s glory at work in your life? Lord, bless me to be a blessing. Many times God will give through me what He won’t give to me. On the other hand, I also need to be praying for God to bless my friends and let me carry their bags.

People are watching you, whether you know it or not. Someone is being influenced by you. You might be just one person in the world, but you might also be the world to one person.

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
IV. The Faith to Finish

You can almost hear Jonathan breathlessly telling his armor-bearer, “Here’s what we’ll do – we’ll come out of hiding and show ourselves, and if they tell us to come up and fight them, then that’ll be the sign God has delivered them into our hands and given us the victory.” So they crawled down through the rocks. “Okay,” whispers Jonathan, “here goes nothing…”

The Philistines were probably drinking, partying, fooling around with slave girls, when suddenly one of them looks up and sees Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Hey look what we have here,” the Philistines sneer. “It’s two little Hebrew boys! Two little mice come out of their holes. What – did you boys get tired of hiding in your cave?”

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

I Samuel 14:12

“We’ll show you a thing or two,” boast the Philistines, smacking their fists into the palms of their hands.

Jonathan and his armor-bearer waded in and they started knocking heads! As we used to say in elementary school, they came to kick butt and take names, and they forgot to bring a pad and a pencil for taking names!

Jonathan whacked them with the sword, and the armor-bearer finished them off with the spear – until, after a fierce melee’ – they looked back over half an acre and saw twenty dead Philistines! Then God really took over and sent an earthquake.

Two young soldiers started with a plan, and they had the faith to finish. Faith is not foolish frolicking, and it’s not reckless abandon. Jonathan had some promises from God’s Word.

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

Deuteronomy 32:30

When Samson had picked up a donkey’s jawbone and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, one took out a thousand. Depending on God’s promises despite circumstances – that’s faith!

Jonathan had:
I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend Who Followed
IV. The Faith to Finish
V. A Father to Fear

Jonathan feared God more than Saul. But notice his wording:

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

I Samuel 14:6, emphasis added

He could just as easily have said, “God may use us to do His work.” Jonathan didn’t foolishly tempt God. He had a plan – a Godly plan. God can honor our plans – as long as our plans honor Him. God is all-powerful. He is great, but He is also good. His throne is great and white. Remember what happens when someone gets to be powerful. Saul the king became corrupt – just like Samuel warned. He fought battles for his own glory, and not for God’s. He wanted credit for himself, and not for God. He sacrificed and offered offerings that only the priests were allowed to do. And he became corrupt. He ended up turning to witchcraft and committing suicide on the battlefield. Saul was big and good-looking. He looked like what the people thought a king should look like. But – unlike Jonathan – he didn’t have the faith to finish well. Absolute power corrupts absolutely when it comes to men. But not when it comes to God.

Can you imagine an all-powerful supreme being that is inclined to evil or makes compromises with evil men? This world would make Saddam Hussein’s Iraq look like Christmas morning at a rich kid’s house. It would make Nazi Germany look like Disneyland.

Jonathan had reasons to fear the Philistines. They had better weapons. They had more weapons. They had the high ground. They had the numbers.

Jonathan also had reason to fear Saul. He was the king. He had mood swings. He was Jonathan’s father.

But more than fear of the Philistines, and more than fear of his earthly father, Jonathan feared his Heavenly Father. There is safety, peace, protection, comfort, boldness, and victory in the fear of God. God’s power is a great dread to His enemies, but it is a great comfort to His children.

If you are a Christian you have:

I. A Foe to Fight
II. Some Facts to Face
III. A Friend to Follow (or a friend who will follow)
IV. The Faith to Finish
V. A Father to Fear

Get out from under the pomegranate tree. Get in the battle. The Christian life is a battle, and it’s a battle worth fighting.

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